EU wants to use 'frozen' Russian assets to finance Ukraine
EU leaders have instructed the European Commission to prepare proposals on ways of using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine, TASS news agency reported on Friday, quoting president of the European Council Charles Michel.
“We must look into the frozen assets and their possible use for the reconstruction of Ukraine and to help Ukraine”, Michel said, as quoted by TASS, after EU leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in Brussels.
This issue might come up for discussion at an international conference on Ukraine that will take place next week in Germany, Michel added.
Russia strongly criticized the seizure of its assets by the Western nations, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the asset freeze essentially constitutes theft.
Legally, the frozen funds in the amount of over €300 billion ($292 billion) still belong to Russia or its citizens. In order to spend those assets, the EU needs to find a way of confiscating them.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was looking to provide Ukraine with about €1.5 billion each month. The bloc’s finance ministers have been tasked with pulling together the money.
The EU seized property belonging to Russian businessmen and companies, along with the assets of the Russian Central Bank, as part of sanctions against Moscow. The idea of using the funds in Ukraine was first put forward several months ago and was supported by politicians such as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, former UK prime minister Liz Truss, and president of the European Council Charles Michel.
Top US officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that using those funds in Ukraine could be illegal and would discourage other countries from investing in the United States.
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